Harvard Students Hold The First “Black Graduation”

Earlier today, Black students at Harvard Univeristy held what was described as “the first ever university-wide commencement ceremony honoring graduating students who identify with the African diaspora.”

“We really wanted an opportunity to give voice to the voiceless at Harvard,” said Michael Huggins, president of the Harvard Black Graduate Student Alliance, a campus group that planned the ceremony.

“So many students identify with the African diaspora but don’t necessarily feel welcome as part of the larger community, and they don’t feel like their stories are being shared.”

Harvard joins a growing number of universities that have added graduation events for students of different ethnicities.

Some have offered Black commencement ceremonies for years, including Stanford University, Marshall University and the University of Washington.

Some have added them more recently, and are also adding events for a variety of cultural groups.

“This event is truly open for everyone,” said Huggins. “We really want this to be an open affair where people can learn about some experiences that often go unnoticed.”

Photo credit: Jesse Costa/WBUR

Even with that said, you know Black folks can’t get together and celebrate excellence without some people feeling salty about it.


Some people just won’t understand the need for a space like this. It isn’t our job to convince them of the necessity either. Congratulations to all the graduates!



-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson



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